Monthly Archives: June 2024

Monday Morning Coffee

June 24, 2024

For all the jokes about the Lakers hiring JJ Redick, I don’t really have a problem with it. They’ll be introducing him this afternoon at a press conference at 1:30 pm. From the start of the process, you knew he was a strong candidate. Sure the Danny Hurley thing came up to, but the process wasn’t nearly as disorganized as many of you are making it out to be. You can criticize the Lakers for not valuing coaches, or being too Lebron centric, but that doesn’t make this a bad hire. The reality of it is, Redick can’t be worse at this job than the coaching we saw last year from Darvin Ham. There were some absolutely awful decisions game after game. I don’t expect Redick to make those, and I expect a modern looking offense with continued accountability on defense from everyone. The real question is whether or not he will be well received in the locker room, and not just looked at as a coach for Lebron. If that happens, then I think this has the potential to be successful. As for the roster, my expectation is there will be a bit of a shakeup this week. Why? Because if D’Angelo Russell opts in, the Lakers keep their #17 max, while resigning Max Christie, they would have already reached the 2nd apron. That tells me moves are coming.

As for the Clippers, this Paul George situation has to leave you wondering how it ends. Suddenly, the Sixers don’t seem interested anymore. Probably because as we’ve seen before, PG-13 said something stupid. He said on a podcast that he just wants to play basketball the right way at this point in his career. Oh really? You just want to be aesthetically pleasing? Sure you do. It’s become obvious since he left OKC that he wants to be paid like a superstar player, but have no part of the accountability that comes with it. For a 34 year old who has had a history of injuries of late, after those comments, it’s no wonder teams aren’t lining up to pay him max money. For those reasons, I actually think he ends up back with the Clippers. They want him back at a price that works for them, and at this point, that price may now be more than everybody is willing to pay.

To baseball where the Dodgers are still winning, but dealing with more injuries. The latest to go on the DL is Walker Buehler. It’s really unfortunate to see him struggling since he came back from his 2nd Tommy John Surgery, but it’s really not that surprising. Pitchers that come back from a 2nd Tommy John’s surgery usually don’t have an easy time. Putting him on the DL to figure things out is definitely the right thing to do. However, the question is if there is still time for him to figure things out while he is a Dodger. Buehler is in the last year of his contract. There certainly is time, but he’ll need to figure those things out in the month of July before we see if he can be a playoff pitcher. I will never say anything bad about Walker Buehler though. He manned up and pitched in the NLCS a couple of years ago when his arm was cooked, while Max Scherzer showed he was soft as Charmin tissue paper because he claimed he had a little “arm fatigue”.

As if we didn’t have enough negative things to say about the Angels already, they got dealt another tough blow when Patrick Sandoval was placed on the DL with a forearm issue. This could easily be an elbow issue, and one that results in a major injury. The worst part about it is that believe it or not, teams were calling the Halos about Sandoval. He’s actually a player the Halos could have gotten some value for. He’s also under team control for two more years. Just to put it in perspective for you, A 27 year old pitcher who is 2-8 with a 5.08 era in the Angels organization is valued. That’s because even the rest of the league knows with some halfway decent player development, Sandoval has the talent to be something he’s not able to be with the Angels.

I have no idea what Kelly Stafford was thinking. Last week on a podcast, she revealed that in college she dated the Georgia backup quarterback, and even slept with him, just to make her now husband, Matt Stafford, jealous. You have 4 kids with the guy? Why bring that up publicly? I get that there is some entertainment value to it for her, but some of the things this woman says on these podcasts makes you wonder if Matt goes home and scolds her for saying things she’s not supposed to.

Tonight may very well be the most viewed hockey game in history. The Edmonton Oilers will try to make history tonight and come back from 0-3 deficit to win the Stanley Cup against the Florida Panthers, in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Panthers look absolutely shell shocked, and I’m concerned about their confidence that they can still win this series. I hope they remember that they are playing game 7 at home, where home teams usually win game 7. However, the Oilers have the best player in the world, Connor McDavid, and they’ve looked dominant for most of the last 3 games. With that being said, I would love to see the Panthers find a way to win. Connor McDavid is great, but let’s just stop it with all these ridiculous comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, who is the GOAT. Plus, I don’t want the Kings feeling good about themselves losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, otherwise it just gives them more reason to rinse and repeat. Also, if the Oilers win, it will really put a damper on all those jokes we make about Canadian Teams not winning the Stanley Cup in ages.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 17, 2024

What a sad day it was last week when we learned about the passing of Lakers great Jerry West. I don’t know if West was a better executive or player, but he was certainly elite in both. His impact on the NBA was so great, and at the same time he was classy, humble, and modest. If there’s one thing that saddens me however, it’s that he could not finish his career within the Laker organization. He left the Lakers to go to Memphis, Golden State, and then with the Clippers. He wanted to come back to the Lakers, but unfortunately, he became estranged from the organization, and they just didn’t see eye-to-eye on any form of a reunion. It almost feels wrong that the end of his life came as a part of the Clippers organization. Even former long-time Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said that what happened makes it hard to root for the Lakers. The Lakers statement on his passing was rather brief too, which certainly won’t help the negative perception about their relationship with West. Nevertheless, we should be celebrating him and his impact on basketball, rather than focusing on the negative. You have to love Jerry West though because the man said he would rather die than witness the Boston Celtics win another title.


Speaking of the Lakers, the negative narratives that emerge about the Lakers organization never ceases to amaze me, especially after they were unable to lure Danny Hurley to coach the team. Apparently offering 6 years and $70 million to Hurley, which would have made him one of the top 5 paid coaches in basketball, suggests that the Lakers are poor and don’t have the financial resources to compete against wealthy new owners. Some of you people who cover the NBA need to take a rudimentary economics course, because the Lakers have the richest local TV deal in the NBA. They have no problem going over the luxury tax year after year. You can accuse them of not placing the proper value on coaches, or even having a very lean staff, but just because they do things differently than the poverty franchises you cover, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Going after Hurley was an interesting out of the box idea you have to give them credit for, but offering him more than they did would have been a mistake for a guy that has never coached in the NBA. There is also very little historic success for big time college coaches transitioning to the NBA. Hurley got more press by turning down the Lakers offer, than he did by winning back-to-back titles at UCONN. However, he had no intention of taking the Lakers offer, unless they blew him away, and for the Lakers, they didn’t really need to. You can criticize the Lakers for a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them. Bring on JJ Redick.

As for the NBA Finals, there’s been more coverage around the Lakers, Caitlin Clark, and Charles Barkley than the Celtics and the Mavericks. It’s a cute little story when the Lakers aren’t in the finals, until you look at the dumpster fire of ratings compared to what they could have gotten with a better matchup. I don’t think anybody would mistake Luka Doncic for being a great defender, but it’s funny how after all the criticism he took in game 3, he turned into prime Dennis Rodman for a couple of quarters in game 4. Nothing would give Laker fans more joy than the Celtics being the first team in NBA history to give up a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven and lose this series. But let’s be honest, you know it’s not going to happen and the Celtics will probably close out the series tonight in Boston.

I was really disappointed to hear Charles Barkley announce his retirement from TV over the weekend, which would take place after next season. You cannot have Inside The NBA without Charles Barkley, or Ernie Johnson, who are reportedly not leaving TNT. With that being said, there is a small part of me that thinks Barkley may have said this publicly to put pressure on both the NBA and TNT to come to a deal to keep the NBA on Turner. It’s a smart move because one can argue that “Inside The NBA” is actually a bigger brand than the NBA on TNT is. If the NBA does in fact move away from Turner (which I expect it to), then I think somebody will offer Charles enough money to make him change his mind. We’ll see how well this leverage play worked right after the NBA Finals, when we expect the league to announce their new TV deal with all their partners.

The Stanley Cup Finals are actually looking very similar to the NBA Finals, with Florida Panthers jumping out to a 3-0 series lead, while the Oilers came back to salvage game 4 of the series. I full expect the Panthers to close out the series tonight. This should be a reminder for the LA Kings. The Panthers roster is constructed exactly like the 2012 and 2014 teams were. No headline grabbing superstars. Just 20 dressed and fully committed guys who didn’t take a second of a shift off. It’s an entire team of warriors who were accountable, and a head coach who was tough as nails and expected a lot. I’m not sure that higher level of accountability exists within the Kings organization currently. However, the worst thing the Kings can do is feel good about themselves losing to the Oilers, just because Edmonton went to the final.

To baseball where the Dodgers got some troubling news over the weekend. Yoshinobu Yamamoto left Saturday’s game with tightness in his triceps and is headed to the 15-Day DL with a strained rotator cuff. Then Mookie Betts went down with a fractured hand after being hit by a pitch. This is not something the Dodgers can mess around with. They need to shut Yamamoto down until he is 100% healthy. More importantly, when he returns, they should go to a 6-man rotation. It makes too much sense. Yamamoto is pitching way more than he did in Japan. Tyler Glasnow has a history of injury. Gavin Stone is pitching more than he ever has. Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Bobby Miller are all coming off injuries too. Now Mookie going down is going to hurt and offense even more that is just too feast or famine. In their first 10 games, they scored 5+ runs in each of them. Since then they’ve just just 5+ runs 10 times in 29 games. Acquiring .195 hitting Cavan Biggio isn’t the answer. This isn’t about adding a couple of slightly more productive bats before the deadline. Sure that will help, but they need to change their all or nothing approach at the plate. I’m still waiting for Andrew Friedman’s computer to figure that out.

We’re about 6 weeks away from the MLB Trade deadline, and the plan for the Angels is obvious to us, but for some reason it isn’t to Arte Moreno. It makes all the sense in the world for the Angels to trade all their players on expiring contracts. However, it makes even more sense for them to trade players with years of control remaining, and maybe even some of their young players with perceived high values. Since the Angels farm system and player development is complete garbage, it makes more sense to have players with an even higher upside than they currently have, who can overcome the lack of a development system. Of course Arte is dumb enough to believe that we think because the aging and injury prone Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon are on the roster, that the team is really a contender. They haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years, yet he thinks he can fool us into thinking they are good. For the sake of Perry Minasian, Arte should also give him the opportunity to prove he can do his job well, by giving him the green light to sell at the trade deadline. This of course is way too logical to happen though.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 11, 2024

I’m disappointed to hear that Danny Hurley is not taking the Laker job offer, but I’m incredibly impressed the Lakers tried. Their offer and vision was more than I would have ever expected from the Lakers, who typically go through coaches the way we go through underwear. For those of you Twitter heads criticizing the fact the offer was “only $70 million”, that would have made Hurley a top 5 paid coach in the league. This for a guy who has never coached a day in his life in the NBA, and the Lakers are being cheap? I can’t criticize Jeanie and Rob for that. One problem however, is that the perception of the Lakers head coaching job is that it’s not as great as it used to be. So now what? There really are not any big names available, so you’re probably looking at a JJ Redick hodge-podge type of staff put together, with hopefully some experienced assistant coaches. At this point its kind of like going back to your ex after it didn’t work out with the girl you left her for. She knows she was second choice, so it’s going to be an awkward conversation. In this case though, whoever the Lakers get as their next coach is probably going to feel like they are just a coach for the remainder of the Lebron James era in LA, and nothing beyond that.

As for the Clippers, it’s amazing to think Ty Lue got $14 million a year. It wasn’t that long ago Ty Lue was considered just a coach for Lebron. Suddenly, he goes to the Clippers, and he’s regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and now paid like it. The truth is usually somewhere in between. Is he a good coach? Yes. If he one of the best coaches in the league? Ok probably not. However, he is certainly paid like one now. Now the Clippers next issue is figuring out how to keep Paul George, yet staying under first apron. So far, it’s not going that great, but we’ll find out a few weeks from now what the outcome is.

Bad news Laker fans. The Celtics look like they are well on their way to their 18th championship, which would give them one more than the Lakers. Boston took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals against the Mavericks. Luke Doncic is still balling, but Kyrie Irving has disappeared like Hodini, and the Dallas role players don’t look anything like they did in the first 3 rounds of the playoffs. The Celtics aren’t even getting great performances of Jayson Tatum, but they are so deep it hasn’t mattered so far. However, I do love the fact that both Caitlin Clark and the Laker coaching search is getting talked about more than the Celtics right now. It just goes to show you how much relevancy the Lakers have in the NBA.

Speaking of Caitlin Clark, the WNBA is really blowing it, and so did the Olympic Team. The best thing they could have done for the Olympic team is put Clark on it. They would have gotten tons of people to watch their games that otherwise wouldn’t. As someone who is going to the Olympics, I can tell you I would have gone to one of their games if she was playing. Instead, I have no interest now. The players apparently got together and thought it would be a bad idea to have her on the team because her fans wouldn’t like that she wasn’t going to get a lot of minutes. Oh so now we are making decisions based on whether or not you’re going to hurt the fans feelings? These women are so jealous of Caitlin Clark it’s disgusting. She’s bring relevancy to a sport that nobody would otherwise give a crap about. The sooner these players can appreciate that the better off they are going to be, along with their sport.

The Dodgers took 2 out of 3 against the Yankees over the weekend in Bronx. That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Well yes, but their flaws were still on display, and had they not been, it could have easily been a sweep. The situational hitting for this team remains atrocious. They may have erupted for 11 runs in Saturday’s win, and got by with some crafty execution on Friday, but they were only 2-11 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. When you’re facing elite pitching in the playoffs, you have to figure out how to manufacture runs, and not wait for the long bomb. This amazing looking lineup is feast or famine. The defense could also use a boost too, as we saw with Andy Pages not being able to make a key play in center field last night. That’s probably because the Dodgers best outfielder is playing in the infield. The good news is that both the starting pitching and bullpen look great. However, the Dodgers need to find some good contact hitting bats that are good defenders before the trade deadline.

The Angels on the other hand lost 2 of 3 to the Astros at the Big A. They remain in last place in the AL West, and have the 4th worst record in baseball. If this team doesn’t trade the likes of Tyler Anderson, Luis Rengifo, and Taylor Ward before the trade deadline, they are completely unserious about building this team into anything remotely successful. Arte Moreno has reportedly not given Perry Minasian the green light to blow up the team at the deadline, and I really can’t imagine why. This team is terrible, and they badly need to re-stock their farm system with talent, since it is one of the worst in baseball. Of course even if they do that, they have terrible player development, so making those prospects successful is a whole different problem.

Finally, the Florida Panthers have a 1-0 lead over the Oilers after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This series feels like a coin toss, but if there’s one thing I’m sick of hearing, it’s the idea that the LA Kings should feel better about themselves because they lost to a team that is now in the finals. Look, you lost. You lost to the same team for 3 straight years. It should tell you that what you are doing just isn’t working and you need to do something completely different. It seems obvious to me, but unfortunately, I don’t think the Kings see it this way.